Below is a Good will Christmas Message by Dimm Uche Okwukwu, Secretary General Of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, To Ndigbo Urging Change In Attitude In This Era Of Covid-19 Anxiety.
Mazi Uche Okwukwu calls for solid unifications among Ndigbo and more focus on agriculture, while making reference with the scenario of Covid-19 lockdown which brought scarcity of food, thereby causing hike in prices of food stuffs.
Read the full text message below:
The Igbo, spanning from Igbanke in Edo to Ndoki in Akwa Ibom and Ekpeye in Rivers to Obolo Afor in Enugu, have been most vociferous on restructuring Nigeria to make it more answerable to citizens. Unfortunately, the same Igbo see little need for intra-restructuring to make our world more productive.
Igboland has defied real change in the last two hundred years to the extent that new ways of farming, trading and governance have been shut out. We have abysmally failed to adapt, in other words. In this 21st Century, therefore, the sad verdict is that Ndigbo lag behind other groups in running their society.
I reject the United Nations Human Development Index, HDI, that tends to limit development to a people and their capabilities. The HDI defines development as a group’s ability to give its citizens (a) Long and healthy life (b) Secondary school education, and (c) Enough food to fill their stomachs.
I am not comfortable with these parameters on two grounds, namely: (a) They apply only to the so-called Third World. The First World has a different index for determining progress, and (b) They are a spillover of colonial paternalism. According to the great Professor Lawrence Baraebibai Ekpebu, first African to graduate from Harvard University in 1960, the colonialist believed that “full belly and beautiful skin” were all that Africans desire to remain contented and happy as a free child of nature.
The only way to know if 70 million Igbos on this planet are developing is to turn to Ian Morris. In “Why the West Rules-for Now,” Morris makes public the real parameters used by the First World in determining if a people are developing or not. According to him, a people are developing if they can (a) Transmit a news item to the last man (b) Run their cities efficiently well (c) Drill the energy under their feet, and (d) Wage war.
I ask, have Ndigbo achieve some or all of these parameters? The painful answer is no. If you believe Charles Darwin, let it not surprise you that we are at the bottom of the Evolution Ladder in our inability to transcend the Morrisian standard.
Covid-19 struck and Ndigbo almost starved to death when no trucks brought down food from the north and South West following the nationwide lockdown, for instance. Scarcity of food means that Ndigbo are weak as we depend on others to feed us. But do we not have fertile hills and plains to till and plant crops to attain self-sufficiency in food production? Of course, we have large swathes of land that can be cultivated but we failed ourselves.
Same failure is registered at the family unit as the young Igbo males are no longer interested in education but making money. I have variously canvassed for Ndigbo to establish what I call the “Nwodibo School,” like the nomadic school or Almajiri School, as a way of giving the young Igbo apprentice a second chance at getting formal education.
The time for Ndigbo to sit up is now and not tomorrow. To be admitted into the comity of developed peoples, three things are urgently needed in Igboland: (a) Organization (b) Leadership, and (c) Followership. We have the Ohanaeze Ndigbo as our organization.
We have a weak followership as ordinary Igbos pay scant attention to the happenings in Ohanaeze. Weak followership is squarely responsible for the porous leadership that plagues Ohanaeze. To reverse things, the followership must be awake to its responsibilities by interrogating what goes on in their organization.
We are on the cusp of another Ohanaeze election come January 2021. Whether you like it or not, the people going to be elected will determine your destiny when they appear in state capitals and Abuja. What all these mean is that you must protest against the fraud presently going on in the Ohanaeze election. A handful of selfish men have hijacked the electoral process with the view to undermining and trading away our collective destiny.
I am ambivalent, happy but sad, in this happy season that heralds the coming of our Lord and Messiah. I wish Ndigbo God’s abundant blessings while urging us all to imbibe the attributes of our Lord Jesus Christ; attributes like love, humility, benevolent, courage and truthfulness. Happy Christmas and a prosperous new year to the priestly nation of Ndigbo.
Dimm Uche Okwukwu
Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
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